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The Queen of Versailles (2012)

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A documentary that follows a billionaire couple as they begin construction on a mansion inspired by Versailles. During the next two years, their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis.

Director:

Lauren Greenfield
8 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Lauren Greenfield
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Cast

Credited cast:
Lorraine Barrett Lorraine Barrett ... Herself - Real Estate Agent
June Downs June Downs ... Herself - Next Door Neighbor
Phillip Froehlich Phillip Froehlich ... Himself - Vice President, West Resorts
Marissa Gaspay Marissa Gaspay ... Herself - Nanny
Jonquil Jonquil ... Herself - Niece
Tina Martinez Tina Martinez ... Herself - High School Friend
Virginia Nebab Virginia Nebab ... Herself - Nanny
Wendy Ponce Wendy Ponce ... Herself - Housekeeper
David Siegel ... Himself
Jaqueline Siegel ... Herself (as Jackie Siegel)
Richard Siegel Richard Siegel ... Himself - Son
Victoria Siegel Victoria Siegel ... Herself - Daughter
Katie Stam Katie Stam ... Herself - Miss America
Terry Vaughn Terry Vaughn ... Himself - Westgate Employee
Cliff Wright Cliff Wright ... Himself - Limo Driver
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Storyline

In 2008, the Siegel family was top of the heap with the wealthy and politically influential David Siegel running the successful Westgate Resorts time-share business. To enjoy their good life, he and his engineer turned beauty queen trophy wife, Jackie, were building the largest single family private home in America. Suddenly, both the US economy and Westgate were rocked by the devastating sub-prime mortgage collapse. In the new economic reality with the business teetering on ruin, we follow the Siegels as they struggle to scale down their grotesquely ostentatious lifestyle. For this overprivileged family, accepting that situation proved a dispiriting struggle even as their unfinished dream home became a monument of their superficial values. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | Netherlands | UK | Denmark

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 2014 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

A Rainha de Versalhes See more »

Filming Locations:

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$51,326, 22 July 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,401,652, 18 November 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lauren Greenfield first met Jaqueline Siegel in 2007 when she was doing a profile of Donatella Versace. Siegel was one of Versace's best customers. See more »

Quotes

David Siegel: Work is my life. I'm 24/7. I don't know any other way to do it. I'm a victim of my own success... or failures.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Docventures: Raha (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday
(uncredited)
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
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User Reviews

The struggle of very rich people forced to live like sort of rich people
2 January 2013 | by cheroldSee all my reviews

There is a famous, though fictional, exchange in which F. Scott Fitzgerald says "The rich are different from you and I" and Hemingway replies, "Yes, they have more money." That quote suits this film's central character, Jackie, whose tendency towards excess is magnified to an insane level by seemingly limitless wealth.

The movie is about how Jackie, her tycoon husband David and their children and employees deal with a crushing recession that forces them to struggle to live within their means.

Even though they are never broke, they genuinely do struggle because Jackie has satisfied too many whims, filling her house with pets and children and furniture and other things that require servants and lavish spending to keep going.

The movie could easily have caricatured Jackie, whose giant fake breasts and obsessive shopping are qualities that could make her seem white trash, but she comes across as a reasonably intelligent, generally nice person who simply has no concept of "enough." If she were poor she would probably be in debt because she collected memorial plates or something, but because she's rich she has collected everything.

David is less likable, a cold, brusque businessman with a sense of entitlement. As the movie begins he shows overwhelming confidence; it's easy to see how the sort of person who can build up a big business is the sort of person who never has insecure thoughts like, "did my wife marry me for my money." David claims in the movie to have personally made GW Bush president, but even though he expresses doubt about whether that was a good idea, because of the wars that resulted, after this movie came out he threatened his employees with job loss if Obama beat Romney, so I'd say he is as awful as he seems in the movie.

One of the best qualities of this movie is how non-judgmental it is. It shows its characters being both thoughtless and thoughtful and it gives them a chance to represent themselves to the camera; it's a movie that has no interest in being a hatchet job. At the same time, it juxtaposes their problems with those of one of their nanny's, whose situation is far sadder; it also has no interest in being a whitewash.

The even-handedness of this film means you are free to see the characters as you like. Some reviewers here reacted very differently from me, seeing David as a hard working businessman stuck with a white trash gold digger, or seeing them both as odious monsters. If you hate the rich, that will probably be your reaction, but if you *are* the rich, you would probably see this as a reasonable portrayal. In fact, if you're rich enough you probably wouldn't see anything wrong with the way they live. (Rich people are different than you and I; they think living like millionaires is normal.)

Overall this is a very engrossing and admirable film that made me feel some sympathy for people who, in the natural order of things, I would consider leeches on the belly of America.


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